Tucker shows up in this blog a lot, but what many of you may not know is that this amazing horse has been in my life for 16 years now. I was there the day he was born.
At the time of his birth I was leasing a horse from a friend. I was happy with the situation and had no intentions of ever owning my own horse. I didn’t have the time, space or funds for ownership. I paid a small lease fee showed up to the barn a couple days a week to ride and that was the extent of my commitment to it. I didn’t have to buy tack, I didn’t have to pay vet bills, I didn’t worry about hay, housing or any of the other items that come as part of the package deal with a horse. It was a pretty sweet arrangement.
Tucker was born at the barn I was leasing from and I immediately fell in love with him. He always had a playful spirit and enjoyed the attention and company of humans, which I believe, is why I found him so endearing. He was the foal I wanted to spend extra time playing with, hanging out in the pasture with and allowed to be out and about while I was tacking up or riding my leased horse.
When he was a year old, the barn owner decided it was time to sell. I had no skills, knowledge or experience which equipped me to deal with an untrained yearling but I bought him anyway. Freshly divorced, he was my 30th Birthday present to myself.
We spent the next 3 or 4 years at the same barn he was born in. When the time was right, I paid for someone else to train him. I didn’t know how to saddle or ride a horse for the first time and I didn’t want him to hurt me or do something that scared me where I wouldn’t want to work with him anymore. I had come across some horsemanship methods and training and worked on my own education so I would know how to teach him once he had a foundation on him and I could take it from there.
Every now and then someone would take charity on me and with an extra space in their trailer get us off property, but in the beginning, I spent a lot of time just riding him at the farm. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was actually ideal. He was young and inexperienced, as was I, this gave us both the opportunity to add miles and time before we headed out into the big world.
Slowly my life with horses expanded. I got remarried to a man who wanted to ride, we bought him a horse, we bought a trailer, we bought a bigger trailer, we bought a horse property.
During this time Tucker and I were going more and more. I was spending many weekends away on grand adventures with him. We tried a little bit of everything….
- Riding through the mountains
- Riding on the Carolina beaches
- Driving cattle through Virginia
- Many many many many camping trips
- Dressage schooling shows
- Archery practice
- Competitive trail events
- Lessons and horsemanship clinics
- Weekends at friends’
- Fundraiser rides
And probably a few things I am forgetting to list here. He is a well rounded horse and we were constantly on the go.
Last year we had a shift in our time together. As usual we had many adventures planned. Very few, however, actually happened due to a variety of reasons. Many of the friends I had these adventures planned with had to cancel for various reasons such as lame horses, family commitments and last minute changes. When we added weather problems to that mix it seemed like I spent more time cancelling and rearranging my schedule than I did actually going places.
This forced a change in what T & I did together. I found myself frequently enjoying the company of my horse without other people and horses around. We rode our property together, I took him to the local parks for solo trail rides and last Summer for the first time I started riding in the quiet cool of the mornings before heading into work.
Then 2020 happened, it started with a lot of wet conditions and then the appearance of Covid. Things were closed and again I found myself spending even more time with it being just the two of us. It’s now been about a year and a half and I fully realize that there has been a change in how I enjoy my horse. Instead of grand adventures surrounded by friends our time is in quiet moments together. I’ve fallen in love with this new way of being with him, in the past the focus was on doing, going and achieving and now it is more about being and presence. The “where” has become less important to me. A ride through the neighborhood can be just as gratifying as winning a ribbon used to be. Sitting quietly in the pasture as he grazes around me can be just as fun as a nice canter down the shoreline once was.
Perhaps the shift in focus was forced, a response that came from the circumstances that surround us. Maybe I got burned out of constantly being on the go. It could be that I am getting older and thus have less energy than I once did.
It could be any of those things, but what I prefer to believe, is that it was time for the student (myself) to learn a new life lesson from the teacher (Tucker). As I look back on our relationship together I realize that various stages we’ve gone through have all been about me learning different things.
In his young years when we were at the boarding barn and neither of us knew much about anything I learned a lot about; humility, asking for help, being a beginner, patience, practice, set backs, achievements, trying to see things from his perspective, respecting boundaries (his and mine), growth, preparing for the moments we want to have and accepting being where we are.
After we left that barn and moved into our current place, when I was able to be gone most weekends on various adventures with friends, I realize he was teaching me about; having fun, team work, being social, being fearless, building and being a part of a support system, trying new things, being uncomfortable, creating the moments we want to have and accepting being where we are.
Of late I believe he is teaching me; openness, gratitude, balance, awareness, ease, flow, contentment, embracing the moments that we have and accepting being where we are.
I realize this post has gotten quite lengthy and yet it still does not scratch the surface of all that Tucker is to me. His very being is love and I’m so lucky that I am able to share my life with him.